Captain Marvel has gone on the unexpected path of dealing with the magical world as Carol Danvers has been placed on trial for the death of Ove by a magic tribunal that Enchantress and Agatha Harkness have put together. To prove that she is not a danger to the Marvel Universe Carol has been placed in the middle of an unknown world. As that is going on Binary continues their journey to figure out what is next for them now that they’ve gained sentient life. With Carol MIA at the moment, Jessica Drew has stepped in to help Binary out. How will all of this come together? Let’s find out with Captain Marvel #40.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artists: Alvaro Lopez and Juan Frigeri
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
On an unknown planet, Carol Danvers brings a baby dragon from the dragon she killed to a town called River Bent. Carol then asks one of the townspeople to raise the baby dragon.
Over in the realm where the magic tribunal is Wanda Maximoff argues that they’ve all seen enough that Carol Danvers passed the Agatha Harkness test. Enchantress protests this, claiming Carol continues to kill the dragon. Wanda and Enchantress argue about it to the point Agatha agrees that she will let them both tip the scale of this trial for Carol in the way they wish.
Back on the unknown planet, the baby dragon Carol save transforms into an adult size dragon. Carol tries her best to peacefully stop the dragon’s rampage but is unsuccessful with every attempt.
After making sure the townspeople are in a safe location Carol suddenly senses Wanda helping her. This gives Carol the idea to use her powers to burn off the gauntlets holding her back. With the magic gauntlets destroyed the illusion that made her think she was on an unknown planet deactivated.
As Carol returns to New York City Enchantress takes matters into her own hand by going to find Kit Renner (one of Captain Marvel’s biggest fans). Enchantress then uses her magic powers to transform Kit into a dragon that appears in New York City much to Carol’s dismay. End of issue.
Keeping the spotlight on Carol Danvers’s story for Captain Marvel #40 was a double-edged sword for this overall arc. On one side Kelly Thompson created a very focused story that further developed the character Carol Danvers. Unfortunately, on the other side, this focus on Carol also placed a bigger spotlight on how there is a lack of depth to the Binary sub-plot.
Sticking to the positives of his issue, Thompson does a great job showing how the trial that Carol has been given is to show whether she can solve things without resorting to using her powers all the time. Not every solution needs Captain Marvel to step in and make judgment calls. Carol the person is just as important and understanding there are non-violent ways to resolve things is necessary to be a complete hero.
That is all shown to be something Carol already can do, as we see throughout Captain Marvel #40. The way she tries to deal with the transformed baby dragon showed just this. Carol knew that the dragon was not in control and did her best to calm it down. At the same time, she understood that a priority in this situation is to ensure the safety of the townspeople of River Bent. As she went about showing her heroic heart the argument that Enchantress was making was made weaker with every passing moment.
This all made the trial appear more of a sham as it did come across as both Enchantress and Agatha Harkness would never be happy with whatever Carol did. This pushed them to be antagonists that you just don’t like. Even Agatha, who was written to talk in a reasonable tone of voice, showed her own god complex with how she was acting as a judge in all of this. It made Wanda’s argument even better as she was on her fellow Avengers’ side.
This all leads to both Wanda and Enchantress stepping into Agatha’s trial for Carol a cool twist to what has been going on. On Wanda’s side, we see how she trusts Carol to understand her trial by just giving her words of encouragement. This method of stepping in was contrasted well against Enchantress’s more direct approach of turning one of Captain Marvel’s young fans into a dragon that Carol now must face. It all created greater interest in what the results of this entire trial Carol has been forced into.
With all the interest behind Carol Danvers’ story, you really feel how the Binary part of this story is lacking quite a bit. Captain Marvel #40 reminds you of how uninteresting Binary’s story is with their one-page appearance completely forced in. The whole conversation Binary and Jessica Drew have was a completely redundant way to tie them into the story. It came across as if Thompson remembered that Binary was the character on the cover for this issue and had to make them have an appearance because of it. The disconnect was not helped by the different artwork by Juan Frigeri that just added to Binary’s boring guest spot.
That said, when it comes to the artwork I did like the different types of art Alvaro Lopez provided for the Carol Danvers story in Captain Marvel #40. Lopez’s artwork gave a different, rustic look compared to the more traditional cosmic superhero artwork this series has had. It made the trial have its own unique tone to it as Carol was stuck on an unknown planet where she did not know when she was able to get back home. The artwork went a long way in putting over the story Thompson crafted in the writing.
When the focus is on Carol Danvers the story that Kelly Thompson and Alvaro Lopez crafted for Captain Marvel #40 is at its best. The entire trial that Carol has been put on by a magic tribunal has pushed her to be challenged in ways that captivate you as the reader. It’s just unfortunate how strong Carol’s story is that when the spotlight is momentarily shifted back to Earth you are reminded that the Binary storyline may have run its course. Hopefully, Thompson and company are able to find a way to lift Binary’s story to match the interest there is behind Carol Danvers’ own story.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10